The "Tax Rate" Myth
Don't believe the lies!
“No Tax Rate Increase” Does Not Mean That Your Tax Bill Will Not Go Up.
In Fact, the “No Tax Rate Increase” of DSISD’s $132 Million 2018 Bond Has Resulted In a 42% Bond Debt Tax Bill Increase for an Average Residence since Then, Which Means Bond Debt Tax Bills Are Increasing Nearly Three Times (2.94 Exact) Faster than M&O/General Fund Tax Bills! And That’s Why Bond Debt Taxes Have Risen from 23% Of Your Total DSISD Tax Bill in 2018 to 27% Today!
Because of DSISD's commitment that the "I&S Tax Rate [...] remain the same", this $224 million (debt principal-only, not including interest) May 2023 Bond has at least a 53% Bond Debt TAX HIKE baked-in, with Bond Debt TAX HIKES of over 60% in just five years and more than doubling in just eight years projected!
M&O/General Fund Tax Bills are the costs of actually running and operating schools, excluding everything but Bond Debt and Child Nutrition Budgets/Expenditures.
DSISD Is Not Legally Bound to Honor the “No Tax Rate Increase” They’re Advertising.
In Fact, Their Bond’s Fine Print/Legal Language (That You Don’t See on the Ballot) States the Opposite—That They Can Tax Any Rate Necessary to Fund This New Debt!
From DSISD's Notice of the Election, emphasis ours: "shall the Board be authorized to levy and pledge, and cause to be assessed and collected, annual ad valorem taxes on all taxable property in the District sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on said bonds and the costs of any credit agreements executed or authorized in anticipation of, in relation to, or in connection with the bonds"
DSISD's Increased Spending Drives Our Annual Property Tax Increases, Not Your Appraisals or the Central Appraisal District.
Texas Law Requires Central Appraisal Districts to Appraise Taxable Property at Market Value as of January 1st Each Year.
Texas Law Also Requires School Districts to Adopt a Budget and a Tax Rate That Funds That Spending Each Year.
Under Texas Law, Property Taxes Cannot Increase without Action by an Elected Body/the DSISD School Board.
Under Texas Law, the Only Entity With Actual Agency To Determine Our Tax Bills and Lower Our Taxes Are the Taxing Entities Themselves (e.g., the DSISD School Board)—and Them Lowering/Reducing Spending Directly Correlates To Lower Tax Rates and Reduced Tax Bills.
Don’t Believe Us?
Keep Scrolling to Read It Concisely and Directly from Tarrant County’s Former Tax Assessor-Collector in a Special to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Below!
From Former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector, Taxpayer Advocate, and Conservative Congressman Ron Wright (Recently Deceased): Local officials must be held accountable for higher taxes
"To say that Texans are alarmed by ever-rising property taxes would be a grand understatement.
As Tarrant County tax assessor-collector, I hear from them all the time.
As frustrated as taxpayers are with property taxes, they are more frustrated with not knowing who is responsible for the increases.
Restoring clarity and accountability to the process, I believe, is crucial.
Lately, when I speak to groups, I pose two questions:
First, how many of you believe that if property values go up, property taxes also go up automatically?
And second, how many of you believe that nobody is accountable for the increase in taxes?
Usually, most people in the group raise a hand in response to the first question, but everybody raises a hand in response to the second.
This should be disturbing to every elected official in Texas. In politics, perception is reality.
The growing perception that nobody is accountable for tax increases undermines the legitimacy of the entire property tax system.
The system is designed so that local elected bodies decide how much property taxes you pay.
It is set up so that the elected officials — not the unelected administrators of an appraisal district — make that determination.
And that is exactly how it works.
Unfortunately, the ink was barely dry on the 1979 Texas law that created central appraisal districts when local governments began convincing taxpayers that value, not tax rates, was the problem.
Today, almost everybody believes that higher property values raise taxes.
It is and has always been a myth.
Local elected officials are good people who want to do the right thing for their constituents, but many of them have also fallen victim to the myth.
Incredibly, some believe that if they approve a tax rate that is the same as the year before and values go up, they haven’t really voted to increase taxes!
There is nothing automatic about rising property taxes.
Local elected bodies have always had the power to lower their tax rates and slow the growth of government.
Too many too often chose to spend the windfall that comes from higher values.
Only rarely have they shared that windfall with taxpayers in any meaningful way.
These truths about property tax are worth remembering:
- In Texas, property taxes cannot increase unless action is taken by an elected body.
- Values and projected tax revenue are known before the local elected body adopts the tax rate.
- No matter if the rate goes up, down, or stays the same as the year before, if the adoption of the tax rate results in a higher tax bill, it’s a tax increase.
Appraisal districts, tax offices and local elected bodies should work together to provide as much honesty and transparency in the property tax system as possible.
Blaming value alone for higher taxes should stop.
Property owners should also do their part.
Learn more about the taxes you have to pay, and engage your elected officials.
Many taxpayers protest their appraisals in hopes of getting their property values lowered.
Still, protesting appraisals is not the end, but the beginning of the fight to lower your taxes.
The end occurs when local elected bodies adopt their tax rates later this year.
Ron Wright is the Tarrant County tax assessor-collector."
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